SUNRISE, Fla. – The Florida Panthers will try to punch their return ticket to the Eastern Conference Final when they host the Boston Bruins at Amerant Bank Arena on Tuesday.

After losing the first game of the Eastern Conference Second Round, the Panthers have looked dominant ever since, winning the last three games by a combined score of 15-5.

With a 3-1 series lead heading into Game 5, it’s all about closing things out now.

“Their advantage is the desperation, the finality of it,” Panthers head coach Paul Maurice said of the Bruins trying to stave off elimination. “It clears your mind. It lets you come to the rink with a really strong singular focus. Your job is to push them past the desperation.”

In their history, the Panthers own a 3-0 record when leading 3-1 in a best-of-seven series.

“I don’t think too much changes,” said Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime of Game 7 against Boston last year. “It’s obviously going to be their best [game]. We’ve just got to keep on doing what we’re doing and play the right way.”

Heading up to Boston with the series tied 1-1, the Panthers return to South Florida beaming with confidence after taking both games at TD Garden. After cruising to a 6-2 win in Game 3 on Friday, they clawed back from a 2-0 deficit to squeak out a 3-2 win in Game 4 on Sunday.

During their three-game winning streak, the Panthers have simply out-worked and out-played the Bruins in all areas of the game. At 5-on-5, they’ve posted lopsided advantages in shot attempts (149-87) and scoring chances (66-34), according to

On special teams, they’ve gone 6-for-18 on the power play and 8-for-9 on the penalty kill.

“Whenever a team’s back is against the wall, that’s when they fight their hardest and those are the hardest games to win,” Panthers forward Steven Lorentz said. “We’re not a group that’s going to expect Boston to roll over and call it quits. This is a group that’s had success over many years and they have a lot of respect from our club. We have to bring our best.”

Trailing 2-0 after the first period in Game 4, Anton Lundell finally got the Panthers on the board at 14:48 of the second period when he beat Jeremy Swayman with a shot from the left circle. Just 3:41 into the third period, Sam Bennett made it 2-2 with a power-play goal.

Then, the captain took over.

Slicing and dicing his way through Boston’s defense, Aleksander Barkov sent jaws to the floor when he finished off the nifty sequence by beating Swayam to put the Panthers up 3-2 at 7:31. In the last five games, Barkov has scored five goals, including three game-winners.

“He’s been awesome,” Verhaeghe said of Barkov, who’s tied with Matthew Tkachuk for the team’s scoring lead in the playoffs with 13 points. “All year, but especially in this series, he’s been our leader. Any time we need a big play or a big goal, he comes through.”

Unbeatable after giving up two early goals, Sergei Bobrovsky stopped all 13 shots he faced in the second and third periods of Game 4. Stepping up in the biggest moments, the two-time Vezina Trophy winner has stopped 13 of 15 high-danger shots in the last three games.

As expected, the crease will belong to Bobrovsky again in Game 5.

For the Bruins, it’ll be Swayman or Linus Ullmark between the pipes.

Outside of a brief relief appearance for Ullmark in Game 2, Swayman has been handling all the work in Boston’s net. And although he’s given up 12 goals over the last three games, it’s safe to assume another goalie would’ve allowed even more based on the saves he’s made.

Up front, Brad Marchand, who leads the Bruins with 10 points in the playoffs, is expected to miss his second straight game with an upper-body injury suffered in Game 3. With that, a lot of the pressure will once again fall squarely on the shoulders of sniper David Pastrnak.

Despite netting a power-play goal in Game 4 – his first goal of the series – the Panthers have done a great job containing Pastrnak, who scored a whopping 47 goals in the regular season, over the last three games, limiting him to just a single scoring chance at 5-on-5.

Even with that success, Maurice said the Panthers don’t game plan for individuals.

“We don’t say, ‘If we shut this guy, we have a better chance to win,’” Maurice said. “Everyone understands who the elite players are. They’re in most of the video because they’re in most of the situations – power play, penalty kill and 5-on-5.”

After sending the Tampa Bay Lightning packing with a decisive 6-1 win in Game 5 at home in Round 1, the Panthers are confident they can do the same against the Bruins.

But they know it won't be easy.

“It’s going to be intense, for sure,” Verhaeghe said.


Goals: Verhaeghe (6)

Assists: Tkachuk (9)

Points: Barkov, Tkachuk (13)

Hits: Ekblad (34)

Blocks: Forsling (17)


Goals: DeBrusk (5)

Assists: Marchand (7)

Points: Marchand (10)

Hits: Coyle, McAvoy (48)

Blocks: McAvoy (29)


“Excited to get back in front of our crowd with an opportunity to close out the series. The elimination games are usually the hardest. That’s when they’re going to be pushing the most. We have to be prepared to match that intensity.” – Evan Rodrigues

“After that first game we lost, we looked ourselves in the mirror and said it’s a seven-game series. We have to treat every game like it’s a seven-game series. It’s one game at a time, one shift at a time. It’s that simple.” – Steven Lorentz

“They had an awesome first period [in Game 4]. They went up 2-0. We could’ve done a better job weathering the storm, but just coming back in the second and getting one goal and just building our game and not giving up too much more was awesome.” – Carter Verhaeghe


- The Panthers have surrendered under 20 shots in four of nine games in the playoffs.

- Matthew Tkachuk has cracked the scoresheet in seven of nine playoff games.

- Aleksander Barkov has scored a team-leading three game-winning goals in the playoffs.

- Evan Rodrigues has logged four points (2G, 2A) in his last two games.

- Oliver Ekman-Larsson leads the Panthers with a 64.04 xGF% at 5-on-5 in the playoffs.



Vladimir Tarasenko – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart

Carter Verhaeghe – Sam Bennett – Matthew Tkachuk

Eetu Luostarinen – Anton Lundell – Evan Rodrigues

Steven Lorentz – Kevin Stenlund – Kyle Okposo


Gustav Forsling – Aaron Ekblad

Niko Mikkola – Brandon Montour

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Dmitry Kulikov


Sergei Bobrovsky

Anthony Stolarz


- May 6: F Patrick Giles recalled from Charlotte (AHL)

- May 5: F Rasmus Asplund, Will Lockwood, Mackie Samoskevich and Justin Sourdif, D Mike Benning and Matt Kiersted, and G Magnus Hellberg recalled from Charlotte (AHL)


When: Tuesday, May 14 at 7 p.m. ET

Where: Amerant Bank Arena – Sunrise, FL

TV & Streaming: ESPN, ESPN+

Radio: 560 WQAM (Dade/Broward); 92.1 WZZR (Palm Beach); 100.3 WCTH (Florida Keys); 101.7 WCZR (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM Channel 91 / App & Streaming 932; Panthers App

Tickets: Click Here